Starstruck: When Rahul Dravid busted a myth about modern cricket — Vikram Sathaye
Rahul 'The Wall' Dravid might be Mr. Coolhead on the field, but as far as myth-busting in cricket goes, the new Indian Head Coach is right up there!
There is this thing about Rahul Dravid that is difficult to put a finger on - he is subtle, never obvious, deadpan, his intelligence shining through quietly. Just like you could blindly place your trust in him on the batter's end in five-day long test matches to hold the fort as The Wall, his humor leans on him too - always reliable.
In my many interactions with Rahul Dravid, I have often been taken aback by his straightforwardness and utter honesty about things. He doesn't have any airs whatsoever and remains grounded - never biting back words, but being subtle with his humor.
There was one conversation with Rahul that stood out and made my respect for him grow instantly, all over again. A standard line that I get to hear when chatting with ex-cricketers is, "You have no idea about the pace of the fast bowlers in our times, today it's nothing compared to the mighty West Indians and Australians," they go on to comment, referring to the likes of Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose and Dennis Lillee.
Having heard so much praise for the yesteryear bowlers and their pace, I once asked Rahul Dravid as to what he thought about this.
His reply will give you an idea about how smart this man - soon to lead the Indian cricket team as the Head Coach, is.
In a calm and composed manner, with the humor packed in layers, Dravid said, "Everything became faster in the modern world, planes,trains, 100-meter records were broken, swimming timings shattered. How come only fast bowlers became slower?"
That made me think about it - and see the matter for real.
After this, I also chanced to read an interesting trivia which Brad Gilbert (tennis star and coach) mentioned in his book.
Gilbert mentions that the high-tech Polystrings and light rackets have transformed shots in a big way in tennis these days. The game has also transformed, it is fast-paced, more grueling and physical, and extremely demanding - science has changed the whole picture of tennis as we knew it.
Gilbert's analysis shows that Rafael Nadal's ball spins 5000 revolutions per minute more than twice as fast as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in their prime. That must be some serious speed & spin, isn't it?
Dare we disagree with the observation from Dravid, after this? I think not.